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Secrets of Egypt and the Nile - summary (12 of 12)

We've completed our trip with AmaWaterways on their Secrets of Egypt and the Nile cruise tour.  We've had a great time on this truly bucket list destination.  

Here's all our posts:

Overall Impressions

  • We had a better view of how ancient Romans lived after our visit to Amman than when we visited Rome
  • How calm and flat the Nile is.  It's so wide. It's also easy to see how the land adjacent to the river flooded (pre Aswan Dam) since both sides are typically very flat as well.
  • How poor the air quality is. Dusty hazy. We all had sore throats.  We saw lots of small fires burning sugarcane fields.
  • How nice strangers are ..young people standing in street corners handing out food bags..fruit and drink... At 620 on Ramadan
  • Easy to get "Templed out" but each one offers new discovery and learnings.  For the first time, I can understand why someone would spend their life's work on archeology.
  • The continuum between myth of the Egyptian culture and factual history.
  • The continuum between ancient Egyptian cults and modern Christianity via Greco Roman times
  • How much wealth and resources were dedicated to the pharaohs and their death.  The thought of burying a good part of your nation's wealth is antithetical to modernity.
  • How vast and hostile the desert really is. There's nothing like being in teh middle of nothing to understand this
  • Despite Cairo's modernity, how dirty, full of ruble and chaotic towns and cities are here. Ruble and dust everywhere
  • Very few levees or dikes to protect cities or monuments.  Tons of sediment were deposited on the lands adjacent to the Nile during the floods.
  • How hot and intense the sun is.  In Southern Egypt, we had 5 straight days of temperatures above 104 F.  How did they live without air conditioning?  Our American sensibilities were challenged.
  • How language is a large impediment. Arabic is very different than English. Many Egyptians were largely not very good English speakers.
  • Ful or Foul (fava beans) for breakfast and shish kabob for dinner. What's not to love about Mediterranean cooking? 
  • "One dolla, one dolla.". This was the cry of seemingly every shopkeeper and vendor we heard. Every Temple exited through the gift shop and we found ourselves running the gauntlet  of shop keepers each day.  We got good at not looking up and say "no" with a dismissive wave of the hand.
  • How knowledgeable and excellent our Egyptologist was.  She was a real difference maker.  She was at once teacher, protector and local expert able and willing to answer any question from on Islam to modern politics to ancient history.  Don't visit Egypt without one!

This is truly a trip of a lifetime.  The sites were each more iconic than the last.  It's impossible to describe scale, color and overall impressions though pictures.  We're very pleased that we added 5 days in Jordan before visiting Egypt.  Doing the trip with AmaWaterways was delightful as they took care of all the logistics and made sure we were well pampered.  Floating down the Nile, just like the ancient Egyptians makes you feel that much closer to history.

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